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R.L. Denim Update

May 18, 2009  |  Share

Unprecidented Solidarity with the Developing World Hangs in Balance 

Please Act Now!

Unions in U.S. and Europe pledge support to struggling Bangladeshi workers:

In an unprecedented act of joint solidarity, the United Steelworkers union in North America, the UNITE union in the United Kingdom and the Ver.di services union in Germany-on behalf of their collective 5.5 million members-have pledged solidarity and support for the workers struggling to win their legal rights at the R.L. Denim factory in Bangladesh.  The factory produces clothing for the German-based giant Metro Group, the third largest retailer in the world.     Joint Union Solidarity Statement

Under pressure, both in Bangladesh and internationally, the R.L. Denim factory has been cleaned up, and the rights of the workers are now respected

Management has opened the factory to two progressive Bangladeshi unions-the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) and the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS)-to verify ongoing improvements in human, women's and workers rights.  Workers are no longer beaten and are now treated with respect.  Pregnant women have the right to maternity leave with full pay.  Workers are paid correctly and receive a weekly holiday.

However, at the very time that factory conditions are improving and worker rights respected, Metro Group has pulled it work from the R.L. Denim factory

This is not what the workers want.  The workers need these jobs, especially now that their legal rights are respected. Quotes from workers.

The Metro Group has sourced production at the R.L. Denim factory for the last six years, since 2003, and has consistently accounted for the vast majority of production at the plant.  In 2005, R.L. Denim failed a Metro audit with serious wage, hour and safety violations.  Yet Metro did not pull its work. 

Why is Metro Group pulling its work now, at the very moment that the workers are in the process of winning their legal rights and transforming R.L. Denim into a decent factory?

Whether Metro Group intends it or not, the real result of pulling out, is to deliver a message loud and clear across Bangladesh and other poor developing countries that if workers dare ask for their legal rights, they too will be fired and thrown out on the street with nothing.

We cannot let Metro Group get away with this!

Please help:  Tell Metro Group to immediately restore all their prior work to the R.L. Denim factory.  Tell Metro not to punish the workers for asking for their rights.  Tell Metro that we will not allow this. 

Please act now! (Send Model Email Message to Metro Group)

This is one of those watershed moments when international solidarity is desperately needed to support the young, mostly women Bangladeshi workers in their struggle for jobs with justice.

In Germany several important NGOs are deeply involved

Several important German NGOs are deeply involved in this campaign, including the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Christian Initiative Romero, whose representatives spoke at Metro Groups annual shareholders meeting on May 13.

The NLC report and media coverage

The National Labor Committee report documenting the horrific sweatshop abuses at the R.L. Denim factory-including the case of 18-year-old Fatema, who was sick, exhausted and overworked to death-has received major media coverage in Germany, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Australia, Taiwan, Qatar, Singapore, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia"

NLC May 18 Letter to Metro Group

Original Report

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